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Graduate Programs in Dance and Dance Studies

MA in Dance > Program Overview


| Program Overview | MA Degree Requirements | How to Apply |


The MA in Dance at York University is a five-term program offering the study of dance through historical and ethnographic research, critical writing, movement analysis and reconstruction. Established in 1976 the York MA, Canada’s first, was one of the first research-based dance graduate programs in the world. In thirty years it has produced 176 graduates who work as archivists, librarians, curators, choreographers, film producers, arts administrators, writers, critics and editors. The majority teach, at all age and skill levels, in a variety of settings. Many now hold doctorates, and 32% teach or have taught in universities and colleges in Canada, England, the United States, Trinidad and Taiwan. A dozen alumni are artistic directors of companies and collectives that regularly present traditional and contemporary performance as well as educational programming; even more have careers as independent artists.

The MA program admits ten to twelve full-time students per year to pursue research in the context of a large Department of Dance. York runs established BA and BFA programs and is introducing the PhD in Dance Studies and the MFA in Choreography and Dance Dramaturgy in 2008-09. Twelve core faculty members are based in the Department of Dance, and seven adjunct professors from York and other universities and institutions are affiliated with the Program.

MA students participate in courses, seminars, field trips, independent research and academic conferences. Guest specialists enrich course offerings through lectures, workshops and colloquia. Students may take courses in other disciplines such as Music, Anthropology, Visual Arts, English and History. Students learn to work with archival materials at York and Dance Collection Danse, and they benefit from an extensive alumni network. Graduate students often take dance technique classes on campus, but many study in schools and studios in downtown Toronto that offer instruction in a wide range of dance forms.

For the MA, admission requirements include at least a B+ average, proof of English language proficiency and an undergraduate degree in dance or a related field in the fine arts (such as music), the humanities (such as history or women’s studies) or the social sciences (such as anthropology). Occasionally students are admitted on the basis of extensive professional equivalency. Preference is given to Canadian and landed immigrant applicants.

MA students complete degrees by choosing among three options: thesis, major research paper/project (MRP) or coursework. To date, 62 have written theses, over 90 have written MRPs and over 20 have done coursework. Research generated in all three options has led to numerous conference presentations and publications. Students often incorporate performance work in their research, and sometimes theses and MRPs include the production of videos, CD-ROMs and DVDs.